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Kasikorn Bank, one of Thailand’s leading financial institutions, has taken a significant step into the burgeoning digital asset sector by acquiring a 97 percent stake in Satang, a local cryptocurrency exchange. This acquisition, valued at 3.705 billion Thai baht (approximately $102.8 million), reflects K-Bank’s proactive approach to entering the rapidly expanding Thai digital asset market.
Satang’s Background and Services
Established in 2017, Satang has been a prominent player in Thailand’s cryptocurrency exchange landscape, offering an array of services that include cryptocurrency custody, staking, and facilitating crypto payments. Despite a relatively modest spot trading volume of around $430,000 in the last 24 hours, the acquisition provides Kasikorn Bank with a solid foundation to enhance and expand its digital asset services.
Unita Capital’s Role
K-Bank’s subsidiary, Unita Capital, spearheaded the acquisition of Satang. This subsidiary was specifically established to invest in digital asset-related companies, reflecting Kasikorn Bank’s commitment to diversifying its financial offerings to align with the evolving needs of its customer base.
Strategic Vision and Expansion
This acquisition aligns with K-Bank’s broader strategy, which encompasses launching a $100 million investment fund focused on web3 technologies, fintech, and artificial intelligence (AI). The bank’s overarching goal is to capitalize on the burgeoning opportunities in these sectors while also aiming to secure a substantial portion of the Thai crypto market, with a specific target of achieving a 20 percent market share by 2024.
Rebranding to Orbix
Upon completing the acquisition, Satang is set to undergo a rebranding process and will be renamed Orbix. This rebranding will signify the bank’s commitment to establishing a strong presence in the digital asset space. Furthermore, Orbix will introduce three additional subsidiaries:
- Orbix Custodian: This subsidiary will focus on providing secure custody services for digital assets, ensuring the safe storage and management of cryptocurrencies.
- Orbix Invest: As a digital asset fund manager, Orbix Invest will cater to investors looking for professional guidance in managing their digital asset portfolios.
- Orbix Technology: This subsidiary will specialize in blockchain technology development, contributing to the bank’s technological advancement and innovation in the digital asset space.
These additions to the Orbix brand will enable Kasikorn Bank to offer a comprehensive suite of digital asset services, ranging from secure storage and investment management to cutting-edge blockchain technology solutions.
Thai Crypto Market Trends and Regulatory Challenges
Kasikorn Bank’s move into the cryptocurrency space aligns with a broader trend among traditional financial institutions in Thailand. Notably, its rival bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), has also ventured into the crypto sector. SCB had previously expressed intentions to acquire Bitkub, Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which boasts a daily trading volume of $22.3 million. However, regulatory concerns and fines imposed by Thai authorities led to the cancellation of the deal.
It is important to note that as Thai financial institutions increasingly embrace the crypto market, local regulators have simultaneously taken steps to tighten regulations pertaining to crypto exchanges. Earlier in the year, Thailand imposed a ban on digital asset lending services and introduced requirements for risk disclosures in crypto trading and promotional activities. These regulatory measures are aimed at safeguarding investors and ensuring the stability and integrity of the Thai crypto market.
Kasikorn Bank’s Commitment to Expansion
Kasikorn bank’s acquisition of Satang and the subsequent rebranding to Orbix, along with the introduction of its new subsidiaries, exemplifies the bank’s dedication to expanding its presence in the Thai market. By diversifying its digital asset services and embracing innovative technologies, K-Bank aims to meet the ever-evolving needs of its customers while securing a substantial market share in the dynamic world of digital assets.
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